Bride trafficking is a combination of multiple social evils
The business of marriage matching or bride trade (trafficking) is not different from sex trafficking because it treats women as a commodity to be sold to some unknown men and their purpose is not to find lifetime loving partners but to arrange a wife to be treated as a sex object, domestic worker and all-around slave. The most painful part of the whole bride business is that it is also a new form of child marriage which has emerged on a wide scale. Bride-Trafficking systematically violates women’s human rights including the rights to life and security of persons. It places women in danger of physical abuse and deprives them of bodily integrity. They are kept in villages or form houses and prevented from leaving or even communicating with their families back home. Their freedom from slavery and abuse is violated as a trafficked bride becomes the slave of the man who “buys” her.
The young women who are mainly sold off as brides and brought to Haryana-Punjab are being used as sex slaves and called “Paro” or “Molki”. It has also been found that these women are also being used as farm workers and are being sexually abused and resold to other men that again provide a market for trafficking of women. As per the National Crime Record Bureau Report more than 22,000 girl children were kidnapped for marriage in 2012. The 2013 report commissioned by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has reported that organized trafficking rackets have started operating in North Indian states.
The understanding of administration on women trafficking in the name of marriage is quite narrow. These kinds of imports and trafficking in the name of poor background and pitiable conditions are given moral acceptance. It is constantly observed that girls from the poverty stricken areas and the tribal belts of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and southern parts of India like Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are the main target of this business. Nepali and Bangladeshi girls are also lured by traffickers.
In a study of EMPOWER PEOPLE, it was found that parents (of victims) are victims of fraud. The poor parents marry their daughters to the "dilliwalahs' because they do not ask for dowry. However these kind of marriages are not considered socially respectable in the source area and more often regarded as "thug vivah' (fake marriage) or Gurjara maduve (gujjar marriage). In very few cases parents are seen selling their girls for few bucks. A large number of girls are abducted or run away with her boyfriends.
We are working in destination and source areas of bride trafficking, with a focus not only on rescue and rehabilitation work but also work on pushing factors of trafficking- poverty alleviation, creation of employment, engaging landless and small landholding communities with market-led livelihoods intervention for farm-based products like lemongrass, banana, paddy, tomato, potato and medicinal plants. We are also promoting Gender equality at grassroot level, working on domestic violence, honor crimes, issues related to dowry and share of daughter in inheritance.
We carry out activities across the following range of interventions for lasting impact:
-Training for Local NGOs, CBOs as well as stake holders at grassroots level
-Networking & campaign for cause of Bride Trafficking
-Formation of CBO/Peoples anti trafficking group
-Engagement of local government
-Inclusion of Issue of Bride trafficking with Government schemes and local plans
-Information dissemination and training of rural News reporters
-Formation of Survivors' Commune (survivors' collectives)
-Direct Intervention/Rescue Counseling
-Community based secure rehabilitation
-Poverty alleviation and self sustainability
-Entrepreneurship development for vulnerable girls
EMPOWER PEOPLE has developed a people's module to combat bride trafficking which includes Prevention, Intervention, Rehabilitation, Empowerment and Organization. As an umbrella organization for 25 CBOs across the country, we are working for livelihood, development and equal participation to prevent social crimes such as forced marriages and honor crimes to address the issue of Bride trafficking.